Pandemic Whales

I took an old friend and her friend fishing. We were headed out to Hand Trollers Cove after coho salmon. On the way through North Pass, I saw a whale blow. And then another. A mom and baby. We stopped to watch. My two passengers had moved to Anchorage from Juneau and Kodiak, so didn’t see whales like they used to.

We were the only boat there, unlike the summer, when there could be 20 whale watch boats lining the short of the pass. The water was flat calm. Then the calf breached. Again and again. It was just us. Watching. When I was a whale watch captain, I could see the whales, but aside from hearing them blow, I could hear nothing else over the engines. Now we could hear the splash of every leap. Mother was nearby, and humped her back to dive. We could even hear the tail come up and out of the water as she dove. The calf breached for about 15 minutes, and we continued watching for another 15 minutes and then motored down to the cove.

We caught a nice coho for the day, but just the one. The whale show made the day, and with the tourist economy all but shut down, I felt like we were stealing from someone, having all this to ourselves.